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Big Takeover Issue #83

Jeff Elbel

Jeff Elbel is obsessed with music (just like you), which explains his affection for The Big Takeover. As far as he can recall, he has contributed to every issue since #43 with R.E.M. on the cover. His featured articles have included interviews with heroes Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil, “Saint Bob” Geldof of the Boomtown Rats, and Sharon Jones of the Dap-Kings. Jeff works for a NASA consultant group by day, and fills as many of the other waking moments as possible chasing his daughters and performing with groups including his rock and roll band Ping. Jeff also freelances for the Chicago Sun-Times, and is nearly always sleep-deprived.

ELO - The UK Singles Vol. One: 1972-1978 (Legacy Recordings)

19 January 2019

The UK Singles Volume One puts a twist on what could have otherwise simply been another greatest hits collection.

Badfinger - self-titled, Wish You Were Here (Real Gone)

18 January 2019

Fresh reissues allow listeners to appreciate these overlooked Badfinger albums from 1974 for them for the gems they are.

Home Invasion

Steven Wilson - Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall (Eagle Vision/Universal)

12 January 2019

In contrast with his music’s meticulous prog-rock precision, real-world paranoia, isolation, and gothic gloom, Steven Wilson fills the venerable Royal Albert Hall with thrills, abandon, camaraderie and euphoric spirit.

R.E.M. at the BBC

REM - REM at the BBC (BBC/Craft)

3 January 2019

“It’s already been seven years since R.E.M. called it a day,” says BBC producer Mark Cooper. “It’s lonely without them.” This pile of well-preserved pop may not stop everybody from hurting as R.E.M.‘s retirement enters its eighth year, but it can coax smiles to temper the loss.


Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition 2LP+7” (ABKCO)

22 December 2018

The Stones’ 1968 release Beggars Banquet is a rarely-disputed classic and the final complete album from the quintet’s original lineup including Brian Jones. The LP’s two sides are led by the group’s sharpest forays into social protest, “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Street Fighting Man.”

Thom Yorke photo by Rachel DiLouise.

Thom Yorke - Chicago Theatre - December 4, 2018

10 December 2018

Radiohead fans enamored of Thom Yorke’s experimental excursions into electronic music sold out the ornate and stately Chicago Theatre. The set list was built around Yorke’s solo material, primarily focused upon 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. The singer was clearly in his element while pursuing a musical vision purely his own.

The Rolling Stones, “Voodoo Lounge Uncut,” (Eagle Vision/Universal)

16 November 2018

This newly restored Rolling Stones concert film recorded in 1994 includes 10 songs and 5 bonus cuts not included on the original 1995 Voodoo Lounge Live release.

Riot Fest: (Chicago, IL) - September 14-16, 2018

25 September 2018

Coverage of Chicago’s Riot Fest includes text and photos of Johnny Marr, Elvis Costello, Gary Numan and more.

Radiohead - Little Caesars Arena (Detroit) - July 22, 2018

23 July 2018

Radiohead in 2018 continues its decades-long campaign of confounding expectations and challenging the norms of conventional rock bands. An adventurous crowd in Detroit offered strong support on Sunday. Photos by Andrew Potter.

The Pretenders - The Riverside Theater (Milwaukee) - July 10, 2018

22 July 2018

Review and photos by Philamonjaro. The Pretenders’ playing is as vibrant and visceral as ever. The catalog of songs by Chrissie Hynde, Martin Chambers and company reveals rock and roll with substance, savvy arrangements and a mountain of melodic hooks. No pretending here; this band is the real deal.

U2 - United Center (Chicago) - May 22, 2018

26 May 2018

Irish rockers U2 performed two dates at the United Center in Chicago, IL for its eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour. The set list leaned heavily upon U2’s recent bookend albums Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Experience (2017). Photographer Philomonjaro was on hand to capture the action on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

Caspar Babypants - Sleep Tight (Babypants Music)

16 November 2017

You may never hear the last part of this record of charming lullabies, because you will be asleep before you get there.

Silverplanes - Gulfstream EP (Volume Unit)

29 October 2017

The five guitar-laden pop-rockers on Gulfstream are emotionally potent while still connecting at the gut level, offering a promising start for a series of releases that extends into 2018.

Midnight Oil - Riverstage (Brisbane, Australia) - October 17, 2017

26 October 2017

With the extensive The Great Circle Tour 2017 barreling toward its final date in Sydney, the reactivated Midnight Oil showed no sign that it ought to return to retirement. The band’s activist posture and reinvigorated music are more potent and relevant than ever.

Midnight Oil (Cleveland, OH) - August 27, 2017

31 August 2017

Australian activist rockers Midnight Oil stormed the stage at Cleveland, Ohio’s House of Blues for a night of political agitation and feral rock and roll. Cover photo by John Welk.

Paul McCartney (Chicago, IL) - July 25, 2017

28 July 2017

Paul McCartney brought his One on One tour to Chicago on Tuesday. Here’s an unconventional review of the former Beatle’s unconventional connection to some of his ardent fans – through the eyes of 11-year-old Melody Elbel. Photos by Curt Baran.

Gorillaz by Jamie Howlett

Gorillaz (Chicago, IL) - July 8, 2017

10 July 2017

Gorillaz launched their North American tour supporting Humanz under a full moon at Chicago’s Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island.

Greg Lawless of Adam Again remembers "Perfecta"

20 June 2017

Perfecta was the fifth album and unintentional swan-song by soulful alt-rock band Adam Again. The 1995 release has been long out of print, but is being prepared for high-end vinyl reissue by Lo-Fidelity Records. Guitarist Greg Lawless talks about why he believes Perfecta is even more essential than the Orange County, CA band’s avowed masterpiece Dig.

Photo of U2 by Kevin Mazur.

U2 (Chicago, IL) - June 3, 2017

5 June 2017

U2’s first of two nights at Chicago’s Soldier Field transcended mere nostalgia. The veteran Irish rockers shared the “desert songs” of 1987’s landmark The Joshua Tree album with a multi-generational assemblage of devoted fans as an act of spiritual communion.

Rush - Cygnus X-1, Book I & II 12" (UMe/Anthem/ole) - Record Store Day

14 April 2017

This is a fun release for Record Store Day that mimics the cornerstone of countless mixtapes made by teenaged prog-rock nerds of decades past, self included. For the first time, “Cygnus X-1, Book I: The Voyage” and “Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres” are officially bundled together into one complete story.

The Bad Plus - It's Hard (Okeh/Sony Masterworks)

3 September 2016

Calling It’s Hard a covers album is a feint, even if it harkens back to the Bad Plus’ landmark early recordings and bracing interpretations of material by artists as disparate as Abba, Rodgers & Hart, and Nirvana. These songs find the band in full creative and cerebral flight.

Lollapalooza Day 4: Sir the Baptist, Local Natives, Flume (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Sunday, July 31, 2016

1 August 2016

Highlights from the final day of Lollapalooza’s 25th anniversary touched all extremes of the eclectic lineup. The mix included hip-hop, psychedelic folk, alternative rock, EDM and more. Read here for coverage of Sir the Baptist and Local Natives.

Lollapalooza Day 3: Joy Formidable, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Leon Bridges, etc. (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Saturday, July 30, 2016

31 July 2016

Saturday’s sunshine was a welcome transformation in Grant Park, and it made for a perfect music-watching. Most of the musicians also mentioned their gratitude for this particular form of climate change from the stage. Read here for reports on the Joy Formidable, Leon Bridges, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and Dua Lipa.

Lollapalooza Day 2: M83, Radiohead, Foals, etc. (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Friday, July 29, 2016

30 July 2016

Read here for Lollapalooza 2016 Day 2 coverage including Radiohead, M83, Foals, Frightened Rabbit, and more rain.

Lollapalooza Day 1: Yeasayer (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Thursday, July 28, 2016

29 July 2016

Lollapalooza’s 25th anniversary got off to a soggy start, but day one included many highlights including Yeasayer, The 1975, Kurt Vile & the Violators, and Lana Del Ray. Read the article for the rundown on Yeasayer’s set.

Video premiere: "Chez Les Yé-Yé" by The Claudettes (exclusive)

17 November 2015

Chicago’s premiere punk-blues piano-and-drums outfit are back with a modern spin on Serge Gainsbourg’s 1963 single “Chez Les Yé-Yé.”

Riot Fest: Day 2 (Douglas Park, Chicago, IL) – Saturday, September 12, 2015

30 September 2015

Many have crowned Riot Fest as Chicago’s best-curated music festival of the year. The opportunity to see back-to-back sets by Echo & the Bunnymen, funk maestro Bootsy Collins’ Rubber Band and country music legend Merle Haggard was too wonderfully eclectic to miss, crowned shortly afterward by a stage-shredding performance from Iggy Pop.

Lollapalooza Day 1: Paul McCartney (Grant Park, Chicago, IL) – Friday, July 31, 2015

1 August 2015

Paul McCartney closed the first day of Lollapalooza 2015 with nearly 130 minutes of beloved Beatles, Wings and solo material. He also sprung a few surprises.

Poi Dog Pondering – City Winery (Chicago, IL) – Sunday, December 28, 2014

30 December 2014

Poi Dog Pondering recently wrapped a four-night stand at City Winery Chicago in support of new project Everybody’s Got a Star. Rock photographer Philamonjaro was on hand to document night three.

Game Theory - Blaze of Glory (Omnivore)

20 August 2014

Following welcome releases by Jellyfish, Lone Justice, Camper Van Beethoven and Dream Syndicate, the music fans at Omnivore Records now fill a longstanding void by launching its series of reissues by Scott Miller’s late, great psych-pop band Game Theory. First up is an expanded edition of the band’s 1982 debut album.

Henry Mancini, “The Pink Panther,” (RCA Victor/Legacy Recordings)

9 April 2014

The crown jewel of Legacy’s 2014 Record Store Day offerings is a 50th anniversary edition of “The Pink Panther – Music from the Film Score Composed and Conducted by Henry Mancini.” A better marriage of quirky-yet-stylish music and popular film is hard to imagine.

Paisley Underground reunion - Fonda Theatre (Los Angeles) - Friday, December 6, 2013

18 February 2014

Paisley Underground favorites The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, Dream Syndicate and Rain Parade reunited in December for a show benefitting Education Through Music – Los Angeles. Chicago-based rock photographer Philamonjaro was at L.A.‘s Henry Fonda Theatre to document the evening in this photo essay.

Daniel Lanois, "Papineau" (Red Floor)

11 February 2014

Daniel Lanois will release “Papineau” on Valentine’s Day 2014. The new single captures a disagreement between a father and daughter over matters of the heart.

Radio Jellyfish

Jellyfish - Radio Jellyfish (Omnivore)

8 December 2013

Omnivore has been good to fans of 90s alternative pop princes Jellyfish. While last year’s Stack-a-Tracks explored the band’s instinct for lush and psychedelic pop arrangements, Radio Jellyfish presents the essence of the band.

Dave Davies by Ian Heath (edited).

An Interview with Dave Davies of the Kinks

9 November 2013

Dave Davies’ lofty position in the pantheon of popular music would be secure even without the existence of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Kinks’ extensive body of work. His upcoming tour will feature songs from new album “I Will Be Me” alongside Kinks favorites. Davies discusses family foundations, sibling rivalry, and inspiration drawn from good times and hard times.

Menahan Street Band - Lights Out b/w Keep Coming Back 7" (Dunham)

9 September 2013

Both of these potent slices of instrumental soul are available on Menahan Street Band’s full-length LP The Crossing, but there’s something so right about playing them as a well-matched pair on a 45 r.p.m. single.

Daniel Lanois counts his summers and hits the road

14 June 2013

Famous production clients aside, Daniel Lanois’ haunting musical textures have earned him a devoted following. The Canadian artist is currently focused upon his solo material and traveling to support it.

The Who by Jeff Elbel, 2012-11-29, Chicago, IL.

The Who – United Center (Chicago, IL) – Thursday, November 29, 2012

9 May 2013

The Who performed its landmark concept album Quadrophenia on two nights in Chicago, IL. The set list may have been known in advance, but the veteran British rockers played with conviction and fire.

Queen – Greatest Video Hits (Eagle Vision)

16 April 2013

This two-disc set collects thirty-three Queen videos, featuring the British rockers’ best-loved songs. Having guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor on hand via commentary is worth the price of admission.

Eclectric - "Green After the Rain" (Soundconnected)

14 April 2013

With an appealing blend of classic and alternative styles, Eclectric earns comparisons to crafty pop provocateurs like Tears for Fears, Eurythmics, and Level 42.

Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made (Eagle Records)

13 April 2013

Seventeen studio albums into its career, this is clearly a band that is not bored or running a treadmill. Some of the usual comparisons tangentially apply, including Genesis, Radiohead, and Pink Floyd. With “Sounds,” Marillion both challenges and entertains.

Freddie Mercury - "The Great Pretender" DVD (Eagle Rock)

12 April 2013

Although Queen are constantly on the periphery, this film explores Freddie Mercury individually. His ambitions as a solo artist extended beyond “Mr. Bad Guy” or even rock and roll. This tribute connects most deeply at a personal level, rather than relying solely upon Mercury’s stadium-sized fame.

PLS PLS, "EP EP" (24 Hour Service Station)

10 January 2013

Former Dropsonic frontman Dan Dixon is taking his audience somewhere new with PLS PLS. He’s primed to pick up a different style of listener that favors genre-tweaking indie rock and tuneful experimentation over Dropsonic’s fearsome old-school rock chops.

Peter Gabriel - Secret World Live DVD (Eagle Vision)

27 October 2012

The improved picture quality, fresh remaster and new surround sound mixes are worth hearing, even if you played the live album as much as I did eighteen years ago. The extras are icing on the cake. For the newly curious, Secret World Live provides a compelling overview from Peter Gabriel’s heyday.

The Zombies - Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios CD/DVD – (MVD Entertainment)

17 July 2012

If I have to choose sides in the Zombie apocalypse, I’m throwing in with these guys. This set captures an intimate show from the band’s astonishing 50th anniversary year at Metropolis Studios in London.

Pink Floyd - The Story of Wish You Were Here DVD (Eagle Vision)

16 July 2012

Wish You Were Here represents many things in the Pink Floyd canon. Ultimately, it emerges as the band’s most focused artistic statement, even while examining the separate themes of Roger Waters’ struggle against the machinery of the music industry and the still-open wound of the absence of band founder Syd Barrett.

77s sticks and stones

The Seventy Sevens - Sticks and Stones re-issue (Lo-Fidelity)

15 July 2012

The Seventy Sevens’ early records garnered comparisons ranging from Echo and the Bunnymen to The Rolling Stones. That may have hampered their marketable identity, but it made them a beloved one-band jukebox to fans. Sticks and Stones captures the band’s schizophrenia at its best.


Talking Heads - Chronology DVD - (Eagle Vision)

7 June 2012

Chronology provides a compelling and worthwhile overview of Talking Heads’ career. Rather than trying to manufacture a narrative, the band’s history is told primarily through a series of musical nuggets – allowing the band to speak for itself.

Queen days of our lives

Queen - "Days of Our Lives" (Eagle Vision)

30 May 2012

In a field perhaps over-filled with unauthorized biographies, Days of Our Lives is a refreshing and illuminating look into the arc of Queen’s stadium-sized career. Benefiting from full band involvement, the documentary makes for great drama. Above all, it’s filled with ambitious and extravagant rock and roll.

Roger Glover and the Guilty Party - "If Life Was Easy" (Eagle)

28 January 2012

Those expecting the high-octane hard rock of Deep Purple from Roger Glover’s fifth solo album will be surprised, but not disappointed.